Following General William Tecumsah Sherman's successful offensive in and around Atlanta, Georgia from May-September 1864, plans were laid to put even more pressure on Confederate forces.
Both Gen. Sherman and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant came up with an audacious strategy that involved Gen. Sherman marching deep into Confederate territory with few supplies and no support network in order to apply pressure to Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederate Armies, and to break the morale of the Southern population. On Nov. 15, 1864, Gen. Sherman left the captured city of Atlanta with about 62,000 men divided into two columns, with Gen. Howard commanding the right wing and Gen. Slocum the left. Little resistance was encountered until November 24, when both Generals Howard and Slocum were engaged by Confederate forces near Sandersville. On December 10, Sherman's forces reached the outskirts of their destination, the coastal city of Savannah, Georgia.
Savannah was well defended by 10,000 men in advantageous positions led by General William Hardee, however Gen. Howard was able to circle around the city in order to connect with the Union Navy to unload heavy siege artillery and supplies, and demanded the surrender of Hardee's forces. On the night of December 20, Hardee and his men fled the city, which was then peaceably occupied the very next day.
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